SQUASH PLAYER NEWS


The World of Squash
at Your Fingertips

HOME
NEWS
RESULTS 
CALENDAR
EVENTS
PLAYERS
CLUBS
RULES
LINKS
MAGAZINE
FEATURES
GEAR
DIRECTORY
WORKSHOP
PROMOTIONS
FEEDBACK
ARCHIVE
About SP
Squash on TV
Search
 
UK Counties
World Links

Online Store
Books, Subs, Videos

Squash Directory
Where to get it all

Classified Section
Job, Jobs, Jobs Something to sell ...

09/09/2019
China Open 2019

LATEST

The indispensable magazine for serious Squash Players
Subscribe to Squash Player Magazine Now

China Open 2019
Men's Draw
04 - 08 Sep
Shanghai, China, $112k

ROUND TWO
05 SEP
QUARTERS
06 SEP
SEMIS
07 SEP
FINAL
08 SEP

[1] Ali Farag (EGY)
11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4 (41m)
[9/16] Youssef Soliman (EGY)

Ali Farag
6-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5 (66m)
Tom Richards
Ali Farag
11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (34m)
Saurav Ghosal
Ali Farag
11-3, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8 (60m)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
[8] Tom Richards (ENG)
11-9, 11-3, 11-8 (49m)
[9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY)
[9/16] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 (58m)
[7] Adrian Waller (ENG)
Mazen Hesham
11-9, 12-14, 11-7 (67m)
Saurav Ghosal
[3] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (43m)
[9/16] Yip Tsz Fung (HKG)
[4] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
11-4, 12-14, 11-9, 11-4 (60m)
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)
Marwan Elshorbagy
11-5, 13-11, 15-13 (55m)
Omar Mosaad
Marwan Elshorbagy
8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (64m)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
[5] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (40m)
[9/16] Abdulla Al-Tamimi (QAT)
[9/16] Leo Au (HKG)
11-13, 9-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-9 (90m)
[6] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Leo Au
3-11, 11-8, 15-13, 11-8 (68m)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
[9/16] Lucas Serme (FRA)
8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-2 (86m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)

ROUND ONE

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bye
[9/16] Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 (76m)
[9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [WC] Zhou Zhitao (CHN) 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (23m)
[8] Tom Richards (ENG) bye
[7] Adrian Waller (ENG) bye
[9/16] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 13-11 (56m)
[9/16] Yip Tsz Fung (HKG) bt Mohamed Elsherbini (EGY) 8-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-9 (50m)
[3] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bye
[4] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bye
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) bt [9/16] Greg Lobban (SCO) 11-9, 11-6, 1-11, 11-6 (59m)
[9/16] Abdulla Al-Tamimi (QAT) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 5-1 ret.
[5] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bye
[6] Cesar Salazar (MEX) bye
[9/16] Leo Au (HKG) bt Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 13-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8 (62m)
[9/16] Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 12-10, 11-8, 4-11, 11-2 (51m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bye

China Open 2019
Women's Draw
04 - 08 Sep
Shanghai, China, $112k

ROUND TWO
05 SEP
QUARTERS
06 SEP
SEMIS
07 SEP
FINAL
08 SEP

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY)
11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (26m)
Milou van der Heijden (NED)

Raneem El Welily
11-5, 11-9, 11-4 (25m)
Salma Hany
Raneem El Welily
11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (37m)
Hania El Hammamy
Raneem El Welily
11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 (70m)
Nour El Tayeb
[8] Salma Hany (EGY)
11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (35m)
Nada Abbas (EGY)
[9/16] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-4 (62m)
[5] Annie Au (HKG)
Hania El Hammamy
11-9, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
Joelle King
[4] Joelle King (NZL)
11-5, 9-11, 12-14, 11-9, 12-10 (56m)
[9/16] Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (19m)
[9/16] Rachael Grinham (AUS)
Nour El Tayeb
11-2, 11-1, 11-5 (15m)
Nadine Shahin
Nour El Tayeb
11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (28m)
Nouran Gohar
[9/16] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
4-11, 11-6, 11-5, 13-11 (37m)
[6] Alison Waters (ENG)
[9/16] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
10-12, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1, 11-7 (44m)
[7] Victoria Lust (ENG)
Yathreb Adel
11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6 (54m)
Nouran Gohar
Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
11-6, 11-8, 11-2 (22m)
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY)

ROUND ONE

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bye
Milou van der Heijden (NED) bt [9/16] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 16-14, 11-9, 11-3 (31m)
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt [9/16] Donna Lobban (AUS) 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (28m)
[8] Salma Hany (EGY) bye
[5] Annie Au (HKG) bye
[9/16] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) 11-2, 11-6, 11-6 (24m)
[9/16] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 12-10, 14-12, 11-6 (30m)
[4] Joelle King (NZL) bye
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bye
[9/16] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 11-6, 11-4, 6-11, 11-6 (34m)
[9/16] Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (23m)
[6] Alison Waters (ENG) bye
[7] Victoria Lust (ENG) bye
[9/16] Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt Julianne Courtice (ENG) 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (30m)
Danielle Letourneau (CAN) bt [9/16] Joey Chan (HKG) 11-7, 11-7, 11-3 (22m)
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bye

REPORTS

Egypt’s El Tayeb and ElShorbagy Beat World No.1s to Lift China Open Titles

Egypt’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb and World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy lifted the first titles of the new season after defeating compatriots and World No.1s Raneem El Welily and Ali Farag to claim the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold tournament titles.

El Tayeb stunned defending champion El Welily in a thrilling five-game battle to take the first silverware of the new PSA World Tour season as she displayed a formidable performance on the glass court atop the Peninsula Shanghai.

The last time El Tayeb got the better of El Welily was at the 2018-19 PSA World Championships in Chicago, when she claimed a shock victory over the then-reigning World Champion.

And El Tayeb once again showed that she has what it takes to challenge for the major titles this season as she held off a resilient El Welily to be crowned the women’s China Open champion for the first time in her career.

“It didn’t seem like it was ending, I can’t believe I’m the winner,’ said El Tayeb afterwards. “Throughout the whole match I was reminding myself that it’s good to be in the final, even though in the fourth game I was leading and I started to see the finish line a bit. I had to remind myself that I was playing Raneem and that the finish line might not happen.

“When she won the fourth I was a bit defeated and then she started the fifth very well but Ali [Farag] told me to just dig in. Last match I played last season was against her and I saw where my level was, and I wanted this match to be another indicator of where my level was.

“I can’t believe I won, it feels a bit like a dream because throughout the match, I was tired and I had to keep reminding myself of one more rally at a time. It’s a dream start to the season and hopefully I can keep going."

Meanwhile, ElShorbagy moved a step closer to claiming his World No.1 spot back after defeating current incumbent Ali Farag to win the men's China Open title.

ElShorbagy, the 2016 champion, started on fire as he raced into a 7-0 lead, before comfortably putting himself in the driving seat of the match with an 11-3 win in the first. He kept up the relentless pressure to double his lead, despite a much improved performance from Farag in the second.

Farag refused to go down without a fight, however, as he fought back in the third. But it was not enough to disrupt ElShorbagy's game plan as he took the fourth to win his second China Open title.

“It’s the kind of match I want to be in this season,” said 28-year-old ElShorbagy afterwards. “I want to be playing finals, especially with him. I want to beat him this season, I want to get his World No.1 spot and I’m going to be hard to stop this season. I told him after the match that I hope that if I’m going to get it then he’s not going to give it to me easy, because I like the challenge and I didn’t give it to him easy.

“This season I’m going to get back at him, every session in the summer break I was thinking about how I could beat him and get the No.1 back. What he did last season was unbelievable, he lost only in the quarters last year, I’ve never faced a guy as consistent as him and he is so tough to play.

“I’m up for the challenge and I look forward to playing against him more and I’m sure he will come back strong next time.”

The next PSA World Tour tournament take places from September 9-14 when the Open de France – Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital begins.
 
El Tayeb Downs Gohar as all-Egyptian
Finals Confirmed


Egypt’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb swept aside compatriot and 2019 British Open champion Nouran Gohar to book her place in the final of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

The 26-year-old Egyptian has been in formidable form this week, despatching both former World No.1 Rachael Grinham and compatriot Nadine Shahin in less than 20 minutes in her previous rounds, and today proved no different as she started brightly against Gohar.

World No.4 Gohar looked out-of-sorts as she struggled to deal with El Tayeb’s quick start and accuracy, eventually losing 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 in 28 minutes.

“Today was one of my best performances,” said 26-year-old El Tayeb afterwards. “I’ve been very focused during the off season and this match just proves that I am on the right track and that I’m playing well.

“I’m very excited to be in the final of my first tournament. It gives me a lot of confidence and obviously it doesn’t get any better than playing the World No.1, defending champion and the best player of the last 12 months. I’m very excited for it.”

El Tayeb will take on World No.1 Raneem El Welily for the trophy tomorrow after she overcame World Junior champion Hania El Hammamy in straight games.

El Welily, who won the China Squash Open title last year, will be eyeing a repeat performance as she looks to pick up the first honour of the new PSA World Tour season.

“I’m very pleased to be through to the final here in China,” said 30-year-old El Welily. “It’s such a special place for me now, I’ve had good results almost every time here now, so I’m really pleased.

“My squash has been a bit up and down mentally and playing in patches throughout the entire week. I’d like to see myself more consistent and more solid.”

Meanwhile, El Tayeb’s husband and World No.1 Ali Farag will contest the men’s final against World No.2 and close rival Mohamed ElShorbagy after they defeated India’s Saurav Ghosal and Marwan ElShorbagy, respectively.

Farag took out Ghosal – the only non-Egyptian left in the tournament – by an 11-4, 11-9, 11-4 margin as he and wife, El Tayeb, look to repeat their 2017 U.S. Open performance, when they made history by becoming the first sporting couple to lift the same major title on the same day.

“It was a good performance and I’m very happy,” said 27-year-old Farag. “It is the best I have played all week. I couldn’t afford to let Saurav get in front of me and I think I did that very well today.

“We haven’t done it ever since [repeat the U.S. Open victory with wife Nour El Tayeb], even though it’s not a Platinum event, it is still quite a prestigious one and I would love for the two of us to grab the first titles of the season. We know the challenge that lies ahead of us though in Raneem El Welily and Mohamed ElShorbagy, so we will have to be at our very best.”

Farag will face familiar rival in Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final, after the 28-year-old defeated his younger brother, Marwan, in the earlier semi-final.

The siblings played out a brutal match with both players pushing each other to their limits on the humid court as Mohamed overturned a one-game deficit to win 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 in 64 minutes.

“It’s very tough, physically and emotionally, to play against my brother,” said 28-year-old Mohamed afterwards. “We know each other very well. Mentally, it’s so hard when you know each other.

“To play the first tournament of the season and to win it would be a huge confidence boost and send a message to the rest of my opponents. I’m here to get back to World No.1, I’m not here to do the same results I did last season because it wasn’t good enough and I fell to No.2.

“I’m back and want to be playing in finals and winning tournaments and tomorrow is another step towards doing that.”

Action from the finals of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open takes place at 19:00 local time (GMT+8) tomorrow (Sunday September 8) on the glass court in the evening at the Peninsula Shanghai.

 
Egypt’s El Hammamy Shocks King to Reach
China Open Semi-Finals


Egypt’s World No.15 Hania El Hammamy stunned New Zealand’s World No.6 Joelle King to reach her first PSA World Tour Gold tournament semi-finals at the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open in Shanghai.

The recently-crowned World Junior champion continued to upset the seedings after knocking out Hong Kong’s Annie Au yesterday as she showed her excellent retrieval skills and shot making to take out experienced King by an 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 margin.

The young Egyptian will take on compatriot and World No.1 Raneem El Welily for a place in the final tomorrow.

“I’m really happy with my performance today,” said 19-year-old El Hammamy. “I played really well and it was a tough match. I knew it was going to be and it’s a very physical game between me and Joelle, so I’m glad to get through it.

“The more I get big wins, the more I gain confidence and I go the next match hoping I can win. It feels outrageous [to be in my first Gold semi-final], I’m really happy and I just want to win the semi-final as well. I’m looking forward to possibly playing the final – I don’t see why I can’t do it. “

El Hammamy will face World No.1 Raneem El Welily in the next round after she defeated compatriot Salma Hany to reach the last four stage, with the evening matches being moved to the SECA Academy due to adverse weather conditions affecting the outdoor glass court.

Defending champion El Welily did not let the change of venue affect her though as she powered past Hany in 25 minutes to book her place in the last four.

“I’m definitely happy to come out of today with a 3-0 win,” said El Welily afterwards. “Salma is not an easy player to face at all. She’s very skilful with the racket and she’s proven over the past few years that she is a very strong contender to be top 10 very soon.

“Hania [El Hammamy] is a very strong player and I’m looking forward to playing against her. We train with the same coach – Haitham Effat – so, I’m sure he will be very pleased to have two players in the semis.”

The other women’s semi-final will see World No.4 Nouran Gohar and World No.5 Nour El Tayeb battle it out for a spot in the final.

Gohar survived a comeback from compatriot Yathreb Adel in a feisty encounter to book her place in the semi-finals of the tournament, while El Tayeb made light work of fellow Egyptian Nadine Shahin taking just 15 minutes to secure her spot.

“It was more my mental performance today,” said Gohar afterwards. “I felt like I was controlling the game well in the first two. But she’s very experienced and we have had tough battles since we were juniors, it’s never easy when you are playing a good friend and you have had a rivalry since juniors.

“It will be tough tomorrow, me and Nour [El Tayeb] always have really tough battles, I think the last one was the World Tour Finals, but we are both tough fighters on court, so I’m sure tomorrow will be another tough battle.”

Meanwhile in the men’s draw, brothers Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy will face each other in an exciting tie to see who will take their place in the final.

2016 China Squash Open champion, Mohamed, was made to work hard by Hong Kong’s unseeded Leo Au to reach the last four. Meanwhile, Marwan overcame compatriot Omar Mosaad in straight games to advance.

“I felt like I played better than yesterday,” said Mohamed afterwards. “I thought Leo Au played so well today, I think that’s one of the best performances he has played against me.

“I’m pleased with how I kept pushing and that I managed to beat him today and really proud of that performance. Sometimes at the start of the season you want some confidence in your physicality and tough matches like these help to prove that you have trained hard and give you confidence.

“Every summer we always train together, but this summer we didn’t. He [Marwan] actually trained in Egypt, while I was in England, so we haven’t really seen each other at all in a few months. We always have tough battles and mentally, it is hard to deal with for both of us. I watched him a little bit today and he is definitely back stronger.”

“There is no introduction about my brother,” Marwan added after his match. “We are used to playing against each other now, I’ve entered this tournament to play those kind of matches, I want to play those kind of matches against the best of the world.

“I’ve had a good summer, I’ve trained hard and I feel really ready for the new season. I’m very hungry to be back to my best again.”

The other men’s semi-final will see World No.1 Ali Farag pitted against India’s World No.10 Saurav Ghosal.

Farag was pushed all the way to five games by a resilient Tom Richards from England, but the Egyptian was able to ensure he prevailed to move into the semi-finals.

“I felt like he was controlling most of the match. He was playing at his own pace and making all the angles, so full credit to hi. I’m extremely proud of myself to get through such a tough match.

“This traditional court is quite different, the straight lines on the backhand side aren’t quite as accurate and I like to play on that side and take advantage of it, but the fact that this wasn’t there meant that I had to find another way and this wasn’t easy against Tom.

“I’m expecting a lot of skilful shots from Saurav, he likes to move opponents deep into the corners and varying the pace. With his height, he is fast and picks up a lot of balls, but I’m glad to hopefully be on the glass.”

Meanwhile, Ghosal displayed an assured performance to defeat talented Egyptian shot-maker Mazen Hesham in four games to reach his second successive semi-final in China.

“He’s so skilful and so talented,” said Ghosal following his win. “He can be so random at times, so it makes it difficult to get into any kind of rhythm when you play against him and it makes it hard to find the groove of your shots and structure your game.

“I think I did most things correctly and executed them correctly, there were patches where I made a few errors and let him back into the game a little bit. Credit to him, he got a lot of balls back which isn’t necessarily his forte and coupled with the fact that he can finish is a lethal combination.”

Action from the semi-finals of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open takes place at 18:30 local time (GMT+8) tomorrow (Saturday September 7) on the glass court in the evening at the Peninsula Shanghai.
 
Egypt’s ElShorbagy Battles Back from the Brink on Day Two

Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy survived a scare against France’s World No.35 Lucas Serme after he was forced to come from 2-0 down to book his place in the quarter finals of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

ElShorbagy, who won the China Open title back in 2016, found himself staring down the barrel of defeat as Serme started strongly on the glass court atop the Peninsula Shanghai to take a surprise lead.

The Egyptian, however, showcased just how he climbed to the top of the World Rankings as he showed his mental fortitude to come back and claim an 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-2 victory.

“Lucas played so well today,” said former World No.1 ElShorbagy afterwards. “We used to train together back in Bristol and have played together for so many years. I’m really happy for him to be raising his level that way, he has so much potential and I’m glad that he’s living up to that now.

“For me, that was the first match of the season and it’s always a tricky one. We had a tough battle at the beginning of the third game and from that moment I pulled through and had control of the match after, but all credit to him. I had to dig in deep to win this match and I’m very happy to live another day here.”

The Egyptian will face World No.23 Leo Au in the next round after the Hong Kong player secured a surprise victory over No.6 seed Mexico’s Cesar Salazar to advance at the tournament.

Like ElShorbagy, Au was two games down but bravely rallied on to secure an 11-13, 9-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-9 victory in a mammoth 90 minute match played out on the side courts at the SECA Academy.

Elsewhere, World No.1 Ali Farag secured a last eight berth after he defeated compatriot and World No.31 Youssef Soliman 3-1 to take another step in the tournament in Shanghai.

“I’m very happy,” said the 27-year-old from Cairo. “First match of the season is never easy, especially when it comes against someone like Youssef. We know each other’s games pretty well, we grew up in the same club and now I play for Wadi Degla, but we still play together a lot. I’m very happy to get away with a 3-1 win here.

“Our sport is beautiful, we get to put it anywhere in the world and to put it on top the Shanghai Bund is amazing. I’m really happy that fingers crossed the rain stays out of the area and we can keep playing on this venue.”

He will take on England’s Tom Richards in the next round after the former World No.12 defeated Egypt’s World Junior champion Mostafa Asal to reach the quarter finals.

“I’m expecting a lot of firey shots [from Tom Richards],” continued Farag. “I wouldn’t say he has a traditional English game, he likes to go for it and I’ll try to keep my discipline and not get too erratic with him and we will see how it goes.”

Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Farag’s compatriot Mazen Hesham upset the seedings after he defeated England’s World No.22 Adrian Waller on the side courts.

The Egyptian shot maker has shown that he is getting back to his best after being plagued with injury throughout the last few years as he displayed another strong performance in China.

“Today was really good,” said Hesham following his win. “He was pushing me really hard and I have never seen him play this well against me before. It was very tough, I just kept strong mentally and I think that made the difference.

“Today I pushed a lot harder than I do in training. I just go day by day and hopefully I have done enough work to push this hard and this week will show with how my body deals with it.”

Next up for Hesham is India’s World No.10 Saurav Ghosal after his controlled performance saw him down Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip to reach the last eight of the PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

The other quarter final men’s match will see Egyptian pair Marwan ElShorbagy and Omar Mosaad face each other after they claimed respective wins over Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernanbeu and Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi.

In the women’s draw, top seeds Raneem El Welily and Nouran Gohar both prevailed to reach the last eight after they secured 3-0 wins over the Netherlands’ Milou van der Heijden and Canada’s Danielle Letourneau, respectively.

El Welily, who is the defending champion, got her title defence off to the perfect start as she smoothly despatched World No.32 van der Heijden in straight games and will now face compatriot and World No.14 Salma Hany in the next round after she defeated Nada Abbas on the side courts.

“I’m definitely happy to start the tournament with a 3-0 win against Milou,” said El Welily afterwards.

“She’s skilled with the racket and has such great technique and you could see she has got different plans and tactics on court. She definitely worked me on court and I’m hoping that I can continue that form on here tomorrow.

“I’ve had good memories here and bad ones, I’m just going with the flow and seeing what happens but hopefully it will be a good memory.”

No.2 seed and 2019 British Open champion Gohar also picked up from where she left off last season with her good form as she comfortably claimed a 3-0 victory over Canada’s Letourneau to reach the quarter finals.

The three-time China Open runner-up will face compatriot Yathreb Adel in the next round after she came from 2-0 down to upset the seedings and knock out England’s Victoria Lust.

“I’m always looking forward to this tournament,” said World No.4 Gohar. “You don’t get a lot of chances to stay in such a beautiful hotel and such a prestigious one. The venue is one of the best in the world and I have great memories here.

“It’s the first tournament of the year so that makes it extra special as well because you want to prove yourself and see how the summer training has paid off.

“I’ve been in the final three times so I hope I can break a little bit. It’s just one match at a time, I’m in the quarter finals which I’m really happy about and I’m just looking forward to the next match and we will see what happens next.”

Continuing the good form for the Egyptians in Shanghai were World No.5 Nour El Tayeb, World No.15 Hania El Hammamy and World No.23 Nadine Shahin.

El Tayeb cruised past Australia’s former World No.1 Rachael Grinham in just 19 minutes to book her place in the quarter finals. While El Hammamy and Shahin both overcame higher-ranked opposition to reach the last eight stage.

World Junior champion El Hammamy held her nerve to hold off a comeback from Hong Kong’s World No.10 Annie Au, with the two playing out an entertaining battle on the side courts, which eventually went in the favour of the young Egyptian.

“I’m happy with this win,” said El Hammamy afterwards. “I played Annie once last season and I lost in three in 20 minutes, so I came here today and I wanted to do my best and perform better than last time. I definitely had a game plan compared to last time and I’m happy I managed to stick to that.

“I’m starting the season with confidence. Finishing last season at my highest ranking has just given me more confidence and I’m hungry for more.”

El Hammamy will face the only non-Egyptian left in the women’s draw - New Zealand’s Joelle King – for a place in the semi-finals after the World No.6 battled back from 2-1 down against World No.20 Zeina Mickawy to advance at the tournament.

“First tournament of the season, I think everyone comes in not really knowing where they sit,” said King afterwards.

“Everyone puts in a lot of work over the summer and it’s the first challenge of the season so I’m really pleased. Probably more with my mental performance – Zeina is one of the up and coming players who has such an amazing raw game and I had to dig really deep to come back from 8-4 down in the fourth.

“Over the summer, Laura Massaro has actually come on board, as someone who I work with alongside Hadrian [Stiff] and I actually drew a little bit of inspiration from her. I’ve been on the backend of many matches against her where she has come back and beaten me and I think I just tried to dig out some experience.”

Action from the quarter finals of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open takes place at 15:00 local time (GMT+8) tomorrow (Friday September 6) at the SECA Academy before play moves to the glass court in the evening at the Peninsula Shanghai.
 
Egypt’s Asal Ends Home Interest on Day One


Egypt’s World Junior champion Mostafa Asal ended home interest after he despatched Chinese wildcard Zhitao Zhou at Shanghai’s SECA Academy on the opening day of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

18-year-old Asal – who claimed his second World Junior title during the summer – showed he was in strong form as he comfortably overcame World No.580 Zhou, who was competing at the tournament for the third time.

Asal will now face England’s Tom Richards for a place in the quarter finals tomorrow.

“I was really pleased with my performance today,” said 18-year-old Asal afterwards.

“Playing the wildcard is never easy, especially at his home club. It’s difficult to manage the first game, I just played my own game and that worked well today. He is playing well and I’m looking forward to my next match.

“Tom is a good player and I hope we have a good match. Our head-to-head is 1-1 and we will see what tomorrow brings.

“To balance a junior and professional career is tough, but I’m happy to finish my junior career with a double World Junior Championship. This tournament is amazing and I hope it continues for me.”

Joining him in the second round are compatriots Mazen Hesham and Youssef Soliman after they defeated Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng and Ivan Yuen, respectively.

“I started really well, which is good,” said Hesham, who will face England's Adrian Waller in round two tomorrow, afterwards.

“He started to play better as well, in the third, as he got used to the court and then it became a bit scrappy. I’m really glad that I held my nerve and started to get back to the tie-break to win the game.

“Adrian and I played last season at the World Championships and I think I played him a few times in the summer. I like him, he is a nice guy off court and hopefully it is a good match and I manage to get the win.”

Meanwhile, Soliman has set up an encounter with compatriot and World No.1 Ali Farag tomorrow on the glass court atop the Peninsula Shanghai, which overlooks Shanghai’s famous Bund.

Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Asian interest comes in the form of Hong Kong duo Tsz Fung Yip and Leo Au after they both secured round one wins on the opening day of action in Shanghai.

Yip defeated Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini, while Au prevailed in a tough encounter with France’s Baptiste Masotti to reach the last 16, where they will face India’s World No.10 Saurav Ghosal and Mexico’s No.6 seed Cesar Salazar.

Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu, Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi and France’s Lucas Serme completed the men’s round one winners.

Meanwhile in the women’s draw, Netherlands’ Milou van der Heijden and Canada’s Danielle Letourneau both secured wins against higher seeded opposition after they defeated Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern and Hong Kong’s Joey Chan, respectively.

Van der Heijden put in a strong performance to down Malaysia’s Low and has set up a thrilling encounter with defending champion and World No.1 Raneem El Welily tomorrow.

“That first game, I think I was leading all the way, and then she kept coming back,” said 28-year-old van der Heijden.

“There were a few game balls on both sides, so to actually squeeze it in the end was a positive start. I think that first game was really important for me [to win].

“It’s very exciting, who doesn’t want to play on the glass overlooking the Bund in Shanghai. It’s a great opportunity and experience to play Raneem and I’m looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile, Letourneau – who is situated at the opposite side of the draw – will face No.2 seed and 2019 British Open champion Nouran Gohar for a spot in the quarter finals.

They will be joined in the last 16 by Australia’s former World No.1 Rachael Grinham, who once again defied her age as she overcame Liu Tsz-Ling by an 11-6, 11-4, 6-11, 11-6 scoreline in 34 minutes.

The 42-year-old Australian, who has won all of the sport’s biggest titles, will take on Egypt’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb in the next round.

“I’m really happy with my performance today,” said the Grinham afterwards.

“For me, these days, I don’t have any real certain ambitions to make a certain rank or anything. I just want to play well and be in shape and try to just play well. I’m over 40 these days now, so I just got off court and said to someone it’s good for me if I’ve had a match and I’m still in one piece! To win the first match in a tournament this size is really good for me and a good start for the season.

“It’s always fun playing Nour [El Tayeb]. She grew up around me in Egypt, when I lived there for eight years and I played at her club. I’ve known Nour since she was about nine-years-old and watching her play squash. She varies it a lot and mixes it up, which I admire about her game and I’m looking forward to having another match.”

It was also a strong day for Egypt in the women’s draw as Yathreb Adel, Nadine Shahin, Nada Abbas, Zeina Mickawy and World Junior champion Hania El Hammamy all claimed victories to advance to the last 16 of the PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

“Julianne has been playing really well,” said Adel following her win over England’s Julianne Courtice.

“We saw her play last season and her results and I knew that I had to focus from the start and try to push her into the back and find my shots. I’m glad it worked.

“I was thinking ‘I have to push and win this game’ because it’s either going to be 2-0 or 1-1 and then it’s tight again. You never know what’s going to happen next, but I think after the second game I felt more confident and I sort of knew what was going to happen. I was trying to eliminate my errors and just keep going.

“I good a pre-season and always when you have some time off and come back to tournaments you’re like ‘how did I used to warm up’ as if you forget everything, but then you start to get into it and it feels good to be playing again. Hopefully it will be another good season for me.”

Action from round two of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open takes place at 14:00 local time (GMT+8) tomorrow (Thursday September 5) at the SECA Academy before play moves to the glass court in the evening at the Peninsula Shanghai.

 


 

 

 CONTACT:  SP Webmaster     Magazine Editor